My top 10 favorite books of 1994:
1. “The Crossing” by Cormac McCarthy (Knopf) - A bleak, unforgettable second novel of a haunting trilogy.
2. “The First World War: A Complete History” by Martin Gilbert (Henry Holt) - Despite some flaws, this is a humane look at the terrible war that gave birth to modern times.
3. “The Western Canon” by Harold Bloom (Harcourt Brace) - The gloomy professor’s long essay on 26 great writers is impassioned and for the most part convincing. His controversial reading list is tacked on at the end.
4. The Random House Unabridged Electronic Dictionary (Random House) - This useful CD-ROM not only defines words and gives their origins, but also offers audio pronunciations.
5. “Arrogant Capital” by Kevin Phillips (Little, Brown) - An intelligent commentator argues convincingly that the power of special interests is poisoning the political environment.
6. “A Journey Through Economic Time” by John Kenneth Galbraith (Houghton Mifflin) - The Board of Supervisors of bankrupt Orange County, Calif., might have been spared their grief if they had read the words of this wise and witty man.
7. “Remembering Satan” by Lawrence Wright (Knopf) - A harrowing look at a modern phenomenon: imagined sexual abuse.
8. “Voyage to the Great Attractor” by Alan Dressler (Knopf) - A fascinating account of discoveries about intergalactic space and their implications for cosmology.
9. “Politically Correct Bedtime Stories” by James Finn Garner (Macmillan) - Wonderfully witty retellings of old fairy tales guaranteed not to offend anyone, even trolls and witches.
10. “Wild Horses” by Dick Francis (Putnam) - Once again, the former jockey mixes horse racing and murder and proves he retains the magic touch.
MEMO: This is a sidebar to the story with the headline: Publishing industry going cyber with CD-ROM, Internet formats